Dear Mr. VP,
Yesterday and today have brought us a slew of think pieces wondering: is it time to impeach Donald Trump? Would Republicans fare better in the midterms with a President Pence? Will Evangelicals flee the GOP if they support Trump through this Stormy weather? Are you untainted enough by Trump to shepherd the necessaries back into the flock in time for 2018?
Here’s Ross Douthout in the New York Times wondering, “Why Not Mike Pence?”
These lessons could apply to a Trump impeachment as much as to the Lewinsky affair. A Republican Party that ran in 2020 with a boring Midwestern guy (albeit, yes, one sure to be trailed by protesters in Handmaid outfits) as the steward of prosperity would not necessarily be worse off than a party lashed to its current leader; if Gerald Ford could almost win in Nixon’s shadow, why not Pence in Trump’s? And a religious conservatism that sacrificed a lot of cultural credibility in defending Trump might regain a little by abandoning him, vindicating itself against what seem now like reasonable charges of “character for thee but not for me” hypocrisy.
Plus, there’s the providential aspect. Sure, making use of Donald Trump to keep Hillary Clinton from being president is a fascinating flourish by history’s Author, but the idea that the Almighty might use a porn star to make Mike Pence president represents, if anything, an even more amazing miracle. So anyone interested in looking for the hand of God in history should probably welcome that miracle’s arrival, rather than resisting in the name of MAGA.
Am I jesting? Only to a point. That God has a sense of dramatic irony and narrative surprise seems like one of the most obvious lessons to be drawn from the Trump era. That God is using Trump not as an agent of his good work but as a kind of ongoing test of everyone else’s moral character seems like a not-unreasonable inference to draw. That God would offer religious conservatives in danger of selling their souls a chance not just to step back from the brink but to literally replace Donald Trump with a fellow religious conservative — well, that seems like just the kind of opportunity that a beneficent deity would grant to erring members of his flock.
In The American Conservative, Rod Dreher is asking if you are a “white-haired knight” and quotes an anonymous GOP Congressman (originally quoted by Erick Erickson) at length, spewing about Donald Trump and indicating what he believes will happen in the midterms:
“I say a lot of shit on TV defending him, even over this. But honestly, I wish the motherf*cker would just go away. We’re going to lose the House, lose the Senate, and lose a bunch of states because of him. All his supporters will blame us for what we have or have not done, but he hasn’t led. He wakes up in the morning, sh*ts all over Twitter, sh*ts all over us, sh*ts all over his staff, then hits golf balls. F*ck him. Of course, I can’t say that in public or I’d get run out of town.”
Dreher goes on to say:
The moral credibility of Religious Conservatism, Inc., has been demolished by Trumpism no matter what, but I do think it would be easier for the Republicans to defend their seats this fall with Pence in the White House, not Trump. On the other hand, with a resentful Trump out there pumping up the base to hate the “treacherous” GOP, it might be a slaughter led by the stay-at-home Trumpkins.
Hmm. Will I be writing “Dear Mr. P.” very soon? This would be incredibly amusing to me for a reason or two, and also sufficiently horrifying a prospect that I’m considering curling into a ball under my desk.
p.s. You’ve thrown your support behind a Congressional candidate named Bunni Pounds.
How does Marlon feel about this?